How to Clean Delicate Stuffed Animals

Cleaning Toys

Your children may love their plush toys, but every time they hug them all you can see is the dirt and germs being spread from their favorite toy. You know it’s time these stuffed animals get freshened up, but how do you do it without destroying your child’s favorite toy? Luckily, this isn’t as big as an undertaking as you think! With careful attention to any labels on the plush animals, and a calm perusal of what the toy is made out of, you can clean anyone’s stuffed animal without ruining it for good!

Washing Machine and Dryer Method – Sturdier Toys

Believe it or not, the majority of plush toys will survive a cycle in the washing machine. Still, this isn’t the case with them all, so you should pay careful attention to what their labels say. Most toy labels will say if the animal is not washer friendly. And if there is no label, then there is a good chance its safe by omission. Just don’t just treat the stuffed animal like it’s part of any old load of laundry. Use a delicate cycle with the cold water option, and use plenty of softener, so the toy doesn’t lose its hugable feel. Don’t overload the washer either with too many teddy bears or other stuffed toys at once. And when it’s time to go in the dryer, make sure to tumble dry low and add lots of dryer sheets, to avoid static.

At Home Dry Clean Method – A Bit More Delicate Toys

Many popular toys, such as stuffed dogs, teddy bears, and plush cats have their eyes and noses made out of plastic. Some of this plastic is susceptible to heat, and there’s the possibility that just throwing them in the washer and dryer could destroy the toy.

If you have a stuffed animal that you’re not sure about, then use a home dry cleaning bag, such as Dryel or some other reliable brand from your local store. Put one or a few toys and put them in the dryer on low, as per the instructions on the label. This will allow them to come out smelling fresh, without chancing any tears from a destroyed toy that was once loved.

Air Vacuum Method – For Delicate Toys in Need of a Serious Makeover

Some toys are obviously delicate, yet this hasn’t stopped them from being put through the ringer. These “code red” toys need to be treated without water or heat. In fact, some of these toys can even be flammable, so putting them in the dryer is outright dangerous. Luckily, there’s another option for these delicate but dusty toys: the bag and vacuum method. Just put a few plush animals in a garbage bag, so that they fit loosely. Then, put the hose attachment on your vacuum at the bag opening and lock it with your hand. Turn on the vacuum and the dust will gently be sucked out. Don’t worry if they lose their shape through the suction; this is often only a temporary problem. Then, to freshen them up a little more you can squirt them with some fabric spray. Obviously, it’s important to only try this method on large or medium stuffed animals; those that are too small could get sucked up in to the vacuum.

Hand Wash Method – The Delicate Measure for Delicate Toys

If you have a delicate toy that you don’t dare take any chances with, then use the old fashioned way: wash them by hand. This allows you to be flexible. You can either wash the entire stuffed animal, or just scrub at the trouble spots. Say you have a stuffed dog, a good way to go about this would be to soak the stuffed animal in some water with detergent for about 10 to 20 minutes, then just scrub at the worst spots. When you’re done, make sure to rinse the dog thoroughly, wring out the water, then let the animal air dry. If you want to do the spot method, simply use a toothbrush with soft bristles to dip into water and detergent. This way you’ll only get the parts that are really dirty wet.

So as you can, no matter what kind of stuffed animal you have, there’s a method for getting it clean. Don’t give up on your favorite toys, they can be saved!

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  1. How should I wash (Get rid of nicotene stain and smell) out of animatronic stuffed
    animals. The kind with a trigger button that starts them singing and moving. I’ve got 7 of these and don’t want to pitch them. We want to give them to our grand daughters, but not if we can’t get them clean. We’d appreciate the help.

  2. I don’t think that we can wash toys in washing machine because its so hard to run cycle and that’s why your washing machine is not works,if you are clean toys in washer.

  3. Re: nicotine smell
    I have found that Febreze does a great job removing smell of nicotine. We used it during a recent motel stay, when the only available room was a “smoking” room. We sprayed the carpet and bedding. When we returned from supper, the room smelled much better. I have to believe it would help your stuffed animals.

  4. I put those with smells in a large plastic bag with either shallow bowls of baking soda or use lids,let sit for several days. Tie bag shut. Charcoal briquettes work well also, just don’t let them come in to contact with animals. I put them in plastic storage bags unsealed.


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